Tag Archives: Neftali Soto

NPB games, news of Sept. 19, 2019

Nobumasa Fukuda twice doubled home Yosuke Hirata, and Joely Rodriguez caught three batters looking in a 1-2-3 eighth inning as the Chunichi Dragons came from a run down to beat the Yomiuri Giants on Thursday in NPB.

The Giants entered the game with a magic number of four to win the Central League for the first time since 2014 and end the franchise’s longest pennant drought.

Hayato Sakamoto extended his career best in home runs with his 37th, but the hosts tied it in the home half at Nagoya Dome. Hirata singled with one out off Cristopher Mercedes, and was on second after Yota Kyoda tried to bunt for a base hit. Fukuda, who’d grounded out in the first on a low fastball, and popped up in the fourth chasing a low changeup, was ready for something low. He pounced on a 1-1 changeup at the bottom of the zone and lined it into the left-field corner.

Joely Rodriguez, the second Dragons pitcher to come on in relief of Shinnosuke Ogasawara, caught three-straight Giants hitters looking at called third strikes on his fastball on the edge of the zone.

“It looked to me like we were getting overpowered by fastballs,” batting coach Sadaaki Yoshimura said. “We were not batting decisively on either strikes or balls.”

Rodriguez (3-4) earned the win in relief, when Hirata doubled with one out in the eighth off Hirokazu Sawamura (2-2) and scored on Fukuda’s second two-out RBI double of the game.

Raidel Martinez worked the ninth to earn his eighth save as four Dragons pitchers combined to retire the last 11 Giants.

BayStars 11, Carp 8, 11 innings

At Yokohama Stadium, Neftali Soto started DeNA’s fightback from a 7-0 deficit with a three-run sixth-inning homer and ended it with a three-run sayonara shot in the 11th inning that eliminated Hiroshima from contention for a fourth-straight CL pennant.

Takayuki Kajitani tied the game in the sixth with a pinch-hit grand slam and re-tied it in the eighth with an RBI double. The home run was the 100th of his career. With his 41st and 42nd home runs, Soto pulled into a tie for the Japan lead with Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa.

Game highlights are HERE.

Swallows 8, Tigers 0

At Koshien Stadium, Hanshin’s Koji Chikamoto moved past Shigeo Nagashima to take sole possession of the CL’s record for hits by a rookie with his 154th, a first-inning single against Yakult’s Yasuhiro Ogawa (5-12).

Ogawa allowed nine hits, the most in a shutout since Orix’s Taisuke Yamaoka gave up nine on Aug. 26, 2017 against Seibu. The last shutout win with more than nine hits was Masahiro Tanaka’s 10-hitter against SoftBank on Aug. 22, 2010.

Ogawa’s 145 pitches were the most thrown by an NPB pitcher since Orix’s Brandon Dickson threw 146 on July 17, 2018.

Hanshin has now been shut out an NPB-high 15 times. One of those games ended in a 0-0 tie. It was only the second time this season an opponent has failed to score against Yakult.

Game highlights are HERE.

Pacific League

Lions 2, Fighters 0

At MetLife Dome, Ken Togame (5-6) threw seven-plus innings as Seibu beat Nippon Ham, shutting out an opponent in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 16 and Aug. 17 against Rakuten. The win dropped the defending champs’ magic number to clinch the PL pennant to five.

The Fighters have now been shut out 12 times this season, equaling the Rakuten Eagles for the most in the PL.

Game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 4, Buffaloes 3

At Yafuoku Dome, SoftBank clinched its sixth-straight playoff berth after Akira Nakamura broke a 3-3 eighth-inning tie with a sacrifice fly, and Yuito Mori worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 33rd save. The loss eliminated Orix from playoff contention.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 2, Marines 0

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Takahiro Norimoto (4-5) allowed three singles and now walks over eight innings, as Rakuten shut out Lotte and moved pass the Marines into third place.

Game highlights are HERE.

NPB games, news of Aug. 2, 2019

The top two teams in each league as of Aug. 1, met for the start of three-game series on Friday at the home park of the second-place team. With Kodai Senga pitching for the Hawks in Sapporo and Tomoyuki Sugano going for the Giants in Yokohama, it made for an entertaining start to the weekend.

Central League

BayStars 4, Giants 2

At Yokohama Stadium, DeNA’s Kentaro Taira took his 138 kph (85.7 mph) side-arm fastball, a screwball a slider and kept the ball in or below the bottom of the strike zone to outpitch Yomiuri ace Tomoyuki Sugano (8-5).

Taira said teammates Neftali Soto and Jose “El Chamo” Lopez both promised to get hits for him, and in a sixth inning set up by a series of fat pitches from Sugano, Soto tied it with a line double before Lopez had to work for a hit, going down to get a decent slider and lofting it into right center for a two-run double.

Carp 7, Tigers 0

At Mazda Stadium, Xavier Batista hit a grand slam with his 25th home run of the season, and Daichi Osera (8-6) threw a five-hitter as third-place Hiroshima beat Hanshin to move within three games of the Giants.

Dragons 5, Swallows 4

At Jingu Stadium, Yota Kyoda drove in the winning run with a squeeze as Chunichi beat Yakult’s current closer, Scott McGough (4-2) in a game that saw five home runs.

Wladimir Balentien hit his 22nd of the season for the Swallows, giving Japan’s single-season record holder 277 home runs in NPB, tying him for fifth all-time among foreign hitters alongside former Minnesota Twins farmhand Greg “Boomer” Wells.

Pacific League

Hawks 2, Fighters 0

At Sapporo Dome, Kodai Senga (10-4) walked five but allowed just two hits, while striking out eight to post his first shutout of the season as SoftBank held off Nippon Ham.

Fighters right-hander Toshihiro Sugiura, who has been bouncing back and forth between the minors and the big club, making starts every two weeks or so and looking bad doing so, had his best game of the year, striking out five over five scoreless innings.

Alfredo Despaigne broke the scoreless deadlock in the sixth off Mizuki Hori, who had been dropped out of his short starter role after surrendering 13 runs over his last two starts.

Senga improved to 7-0 in his career at Sapporo Dome.

Game highlights are HERE.

Eagles 5, Marines 2

At Rakuten Seimei Park, 1.69-meter right-hander Manabu Mima (7-3) allowed one unearned run over six innings, and Rakuten skipper Yosuke Hiraishi got a chance to use his closer for a save in the ninth against Lotte.

A Shogo Nakamura leadoff homer in the top of the ninth made it a three-run game, and Takashi Ogino’s two-out single created a save situation. Hiraishi trotted out Japan’s save leader just to prove he could, and lefty Yuki Matsui struck out Leonys Martin on seven pitches to earn his Japan-best 29th save.

Game highlights are HERE.

Buffaloes 9, Lions 8

At Kyocera Dome, Steven Moya drove in three runs as Orix beat Seibu–the second-straight night the Lions lost by a run after scoring eight-plus.

Lions manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji juggled his lineup, dropping No. 2 hitter Sosuke Genda to the No. 9 spot, and batting catcher Tomoya Mori third, from where he homered twice and drove in five runs.

Game highlights are HERE.


Former Tigers, Buffaloes infielder Kamada dies

Minoru Kamada, who played 1,482 games, mostly at second base for the Tigers and Kintetsu Buffaloes and is best known for introducing the infielder’s backward toss to Japan, has died at the age of 80.

Kamada first saw major leaguers flipping the ball to their double play partners when he visited major league spring camps in Florida with the Tigers in the early 1960s, but said it took him four years of practice to get the hang of it.

A story goes that he rarely tried it in games because he disliked the media so much and said that if he were to make one mistake doing it the Tigers beat writers would never let him forget it.

When he moved to the Buffaloes in 1967, legendary manager Osamu Mihara instructed him not to do it. One story goes that Mihara, a former infielder said it would cause problems with the team’s other infielders, who were not that skilled. In response to that, Kamada famously said, “That’s the other infielder’s problem, and has nothing to do with me.”